Recent SHSU theatre grad helps create children’s after-school acting program

Kandice Harris is a Sam Houston Theatre graduate who is using her skills and talents to give back to the Huntsville community.

She has assisted in the creation of Kids Reach, an after school program that is giving elementary kids a chance to develop acting skills.

Kandice graduated from Sam Houston last Dec. with a Bachlors of Fine Arts in Theatre.

Her partner, Margean Creager, is a retired Huntsville teacher that came to Harris with an idea for an after school program.

Now on Tuesdays at the Samuel W. Houston Elementary from 3:30-4:30 p.m., a group of kids from kindergarten to 4th grade meet to participate in improvisations and character develop exercises.

“One of the exercises, Mirror, is about mimicking someone else’s movements exactly. The exercise teaches the children to focus and concentrate on what they are doing,” said Harris. “Kids Reach is designed to help kids form acting skills and to help them with self expression.”

Both Harris and Creager are very supportive of the children, whether it’s encouraging participation or telling the children how great they did that day. They also give the children a little something to think about during the week. Last week, the children were ask to create a pantomime using all five senses. A pantomime is the telling of the story using no words, only body movements.

The children also participate in performances outside the school. This year, they performed karaoke at Fair on the Square and are planning to also perform at Scare on the Square. Kids Reach also plans to have a mask making workshop at a local nursing home.

“Last year we went to the hospital and played games with the people in the transitional care unit,” said Harris

Kids Reach was founded a year and a half ago. Its first session was held last summer at the Boy Scout Annex. This year, the children were selected through the Kids YMCA Program.

Kids Reach has been made possible through grants from the Huntsville Arts Commission and is sponsored by the YMCA and Huntsville’s Promise.

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